Disclaimers: Mine.

Sex: Of course, and lots of it! I wouldn't recommend reading this one at work, guys. That being so: there will be "gasp" a bit of hetero in here. Sorry guys, just needed for the storyline.

Warning: I do not give permission for anyone to re-post this story anywhere with any changes, such as: change in title, character names, storyline, etc. I will seek legal action.

If you'd like to tell me what a wonderful writer I am or that I royally suck, feel free at: XenaNut@hotmail.com.

First Time


Kim Pritekel

Part 6

Randi was cursing inside her head as she tried to fix the mistake she'd made in the register. She was being trained to work on the drive-thru today, and was having a hell of a time multi-tasking to the extent that the coffee shop drive-thru required: keeping up on cars waiting in line at the ordering station: taking money from the cars pulling up to the window for previous orders: giving back correct change: yelling out anything special that the customer wanted that wasn't already pre-sequenced in the system.

She had been working at the coffee shop for just under a month and had done thus far at the counter, but her training at the window was going frustratingly slow. Next she'd be trained in making drinks, which made her nervous at best. It had been years since she'd worked and she was struggling to get back into the daily grind of having a schedule again, other than picking Blake up from this or that.

She readjusted her headset as the drive-thru chime rang again, letting her know someone was at the ordering station. "Welcome to Wayne's Coffee World. What can I get for you today?"

"You have a really sexy voice," the woman on the other end said, startling Randi.

"Excuse me?" she said, pressing the headset closer to her ear.

"I said, you have a really sexy voice. Can I take you out to dinner?"

Randi listened, something niggling in her gut.

"I mean, really sexy. You should work for one of those 900 number lines."

A smile broke out on Randi's face. "Oh yeah?" she said, voice dropping to an intimate level. "Would you call and ask for me?"

"You know it. But until then, I'd like a mocha breve, heavy on the mocha."

"Wouldn't you rather heavy on the breve?"

A wonderful peel of laughter registered through Randi's earpiece. "That, too."

Randi was excited now, opening her window and stretching herself out, trying to see, though she could see nothing but the corner of the building. "Please pull forward," she said. Within moments Canton's black Jeep came into view, the driver grinning from ear to ear. "You are such a shit!" Randi exclaimed, leaning out the window again, arms opened as wide as she could.

Canton hopped out of her Jeep, accepting the tight hug, as awkward as it was. "Look at you!" she exclaimed. "A working woman, now!"

Randi looked down at her work polo and tapped the ball cap she wore with the shop's logo stitched onto it. "Hey, a girl's gotta make a living somehow. That is, until I finish my degree."

Canton was beside herself, eyes huge. "Randi!" she exclaimed, pulling her into another hug, which nearly pulled her out of the window totally. Both laughed as Randi squeezed back inside. "I'm gonna get you fired. Hey, dinner at my place tonight if you're free."

"No, no, dinner at my place," Randi said, grabbing a piece of paper and pen and quickly scribbling her address on it before handing it to Canton. "Seven-thirty."

Canton gave her a huge smile as she tucked the paper into her pocket. "I'm proud of you, Randi," she said softly, climbing back into her Jeep. "Now give me my total before I really do get you fired."


Randi checked the apartment, making sure everything was perfect and clean. She'd gotten off work at three, had class until six, then raced home to get the lasagna in the oven and then raced around like a mad woman cleaning and getting herself showered and ready. In truth, she had no idea what she was worried about, after all: it was just Canton. All the same, she wanted everything to be perfect.

At seven-thirty on the nose there was a knock at the door. Randi pushed a few strands of hair back from her face and walked to the door, taking a moment to make sure her heart was steady before opening it. When she did, she greeted Canton with a welcoming smile, moving aside for her to enter.

"For you, madam," Canton said, offering Randi a bottle of wine and large bouquet of flowers. "For the new place," she explained, indicating the flowers.

"Oh, Canton," Randi breathed, inhaling the wonderful fragrance of the mixed bouquet. "Thank you!" She gave Canton a tight one-armed hug, the wine and flowers hugged in her other arm. "Come on in. Let me put these in some water and I'll give you the nickel tour, which should take about exactly five seconds."

Canton smiled, following Randi into the small kitchen with attached dining area. The building was old, wonderfully elaborate molding along the top edge of the doors and wainscoting along the walls, which were painted classic white. The kitchen cabinets were ornate in design but simple in function with white appliances. Randi had broken the white monotony with red toaster oven and coffee maker, and accent towels.

Randi quickly found a crystal vase, which she filled with room-temp water, setting the flowers and vase in the middle of the small table-for-four that was in the dining area. "Ready?" she asked, turning bright eyes to Canton.

"Lead the way." Canton followed Randi, listening as Randi explained what each room was for and all the fun little perks, including a fireplace in the living room. What caught her eye and ear the most, however was Randi, herself. She was so full of energy and light, the way she had been at seventeen. Canton found herself getting lost in the green eyes more than once, so drawn to the woman Randi had become, and whom Canton suspected was yet to come.

"So, what do you think?" Randi asked, standing in the middle of the guest bedroom - which was set up for Blake, should he want to spend the night - totally unaware of Canton's perusal of her, as opposed to her apartment.

"I think it's beautiful," Canton said, a genuine smile gracing her lips.

"Thank you," Randi said quietly, somewhere inside understanding the deeper meaning of the assessment. She led them back to the kitchen. "Sit while I get dinner served up."

Switching their roles, Canton poured them both a glass of wine as Randi served dinner. The food smelled ridiculously good, making Canton's stomach growl. She knew had to make a mean lasagna, but by the smells of Randi's, it was blown clear out of the water! Randi got herself settled to Canton's left, making sure they both had everything they needed.

"This looks absolutely amazing, Randi," Canton complimented, closing her eyes as she inhaled the fragrance of one of her favorite Italian dishes.

"I'm so glad," Randi smiled, placing her napkin on her lap as she buttered her piece of garlic bread. "I could live off Italian food quite nicely for the rest of my life. Oh, with a bit of mashed potatoes and pumpkin per thrown in."

Canton grinned. "Interesting combination." They both began to eat until finally Canton spoke again. "So tell me: what's going on in the life of Randi."

"God, what isn't going on in the life of Randi?" the blonde smirked, taking a long sip of her wine before shoveling more food in her mouth. Once she had it swallowed, she sat back in her chair. "I don't' get to eat like this very often anymore. Honestly Canton, I don't know how the hell I did this when I was in college the first time."

"It's called being eighteen years old with much more stamina," Canton chuckled, stabbing greens in her salad.

Randi laughed. "Amen! But, either way, I've taken on two classes - all I can handle right now - and am working about twenty-five hours at the coffee shop. Together, it leaves me with zero time for much else."

"Well, then I feel very honored to have dinner with you tonight," Canton said, raising her glass in toast.

Randi clinked her glass against Canton's. "I'm just so happy you're back. It's amazing I was able to miss you, considering."

Canton gave her a sweet smile. "I missed you, too."

"How did it go? What's your next move?"

"It went very well, and my next move is to sign leasing agreements with Re/Max for my new office location."

Randi stopped, bite halfway to her mouth. "Really? You've already found a place?"

"Yes, ma'am. While I was gone I had an agent scouting out a good location for my new practice, and I think we've found the perfect one. I was with her there today looking it over. It's in a great spot, right on the corner of 5th and Lincoln. Nice-size offices, two filing rooms and it's already wired for what I'll need, as it used to be a dentists' office before."

"That's wonderful!" Randi raised her glass in a new toast. "To new beginnings."

Canton smiled, recognizing her own toast from weeks before. "To new beginnings."

Canton insisted on helping Randi clean up the dinner dishes, regardless of how hard Randi tried to get her to sit down and relax. Deciding to give it up, the two worked side by side washing, rinsing and drying the dishes.

"The only thing about this place is I wish it had a dishwasher," Randi lamented, sticking another plate in the sink of hot rinse water.

Canton grinned. "Isn't it amazing how the smallest things can spoil us?"

"Isn't that the truth."

"Do you miss your house? All the fun little toys in it?" Canton asked, putting a stack of dried dishes in the cabinet where Randi had shown her they go.

"In some ways. I miss the space and my yard. But honestly, that's about it. I like it here; it's a good place to be for now."

"What's the long-term plan?" Canton grabbed the bouquet of silverware and dried each piece.

Randi snorted with a smile. "Make it through the rest of this semester." She grinned over at Canton who returned it. "I'm glad I started this way: just taking the two classes during the summer course. It's harder on some ways because the semester is so much shorter, but it's shorter."

"And, I bet nothing transferred, did it?"

"Nope." Randi tackled the glass baking pan next, grabbing a scrubbing pad for the job. "All my credits were more than ten years old, so nadda."

"Oh man, that sucks!'

"Tell me about it! When I was in school before, I was taking eighteen credit hours a semester, so I had quite a few classes stacked up." She tried to snap her fingers, but the wet soapy water her hands had been in for the past ten minutes caused a dull soapy splash, which caught Canton right in the face. Randi looked at her with wide, surprised eyes. "I'm sorry."

Canton wiped her face with the towel then looked at Randi with a raised brow and clear intent in her eyes.

"Hey now, it was an accident," Randi said, slowly taking a step back from Canton, who had grabbed one of the glasses she'd just dried and dunked it into the sink of rinse water, her gaze never leaving Randi. "Canton, whatever you're thinking of doing-"

Randi squealed as Canton grabbed her by the front of her shirt and tugged her towards her, dumping the entire half-filled glass over Randi's head. "Oops!" Canton exclaimed, her eyes twinkling and a devilish grin on her face.

Randi gasped as water cascaded down her face and shirt. She was just glad it was warm and not cold water. "Oh, you are so in for it!"

The war was on as both women grabbed anything they could: water, leftover salad from the bowl that had yet to be put into the fridge. The coup de grace was when Randi grabbed a can of Reddi Whip from her fridge, literally sitting on Canton on the kitchen floor as she squirted the creamy white goop into Canton's hair, both giggling like school girls. Canton managed to wrestle the can away from her, grabbing the front of Randi's shirt and squirting the whipped cream down into her bra before squishing it in with her hand on the front of Randi's shirt.

Randi gasped, the goop cold and absolutely disgusting feeling. "I can't believe you did that!" Without thinking, Randi whipped off her shirt and grabbed Canton's face, forcing it into the whipped cream cushion that had formed on and between her breasts.

"Mmm! Yum, yum, yum…" Canton hummed as she began to playfully feast on the Reddi Whip.

Randi's smile fell off her face as she realized their position: she was straddling Canton's lap, arms wrapped around the brunette's head and Canton's arms wrapped around her body, face buried in her breasts. What had started out in play was quickly causing a slow burn between Randi's legs.

Canton felt it, too, as her movements began to slow and she realized that rather than eating the whipped cream, she had begun to push it aside with her face, her tongue wanting to taste the flesh beneath.

Randi gasped as she felt that tongue stray into her bra, just barely lapping across the edge of her nipple, already hard from the cold whipped cream. She pressed on Canton's head, needing her mouth on her.

Encouraged and not thinking, Canton brought up a hand, pushing Randi's bra up over her breasts, giving her full access. She could hear soft whimpers above her, all of which fed her core of need and desire for Randi. She took in as much of Randi's left breast as she could, using her tongue to flick over the rigid tip, her own soft moan escaping. It finally hit her what she was doing when she felt Randi's hips begin to rock against her.

Randi was thrust back into reality from her sensual haze at the same time, realization dawning painfully clear. She looked down at Canton, only to meet horrified blue eyes. Slowly they disengaged, Randi getting to unsteady legs then helping Canton to hers. "Um," Randi said, her hands trembling as she tugged her bra into place. "I think we both need a shower," she said quietly, indicating the disgusting state both were in. "Towels are-"

"No, you go first. It's your place."

Relieved, as Randi needed to compose herself, she headed out of the room and to the bathroom, leaving an unsteady Canton in the kitchen.

"My god," Canton breathed, burying her face in her hands for a moment, grimacing when she realized she'd just essentially done a face plant in whipped cream. Her heart was still racing as she began to clean up the mess they'd made.

Randi stood in the shower stall, letting the water flow over her naked body, hoping it would not only rinse away the whipped cream, but also her guilt. How could she have let that happen? How could she have done that to Canton, teased her like that and put her in a position like that? She felt terrible and like she was a terrible person.

"A fucking tease," she whispered, washing her hair - twice - and then her body. But, god that felt amazing…. Nobody had touched Randi other than Shannon since the last time Randi and Canton had made love. Shannon had never been able touch her in the same way or make her feel remotely the way Canton did. The ironic things was, regardless of how unhappy Randi and Shannon's marriage was, Shannon had always insisted on a regularly active sex life, which had long ago become a chore for Randi. She never liked his hands on her, never liked his body to touch hers.

Then there was Canton. In those few brief moments on the kitchen floor, Canton had made Randi feel more than Shannon ever had in all their years of marriage combined. "Shit."

As Randi quickly dressed and got towels and a pair of shorts and t-shirt for Canton, Randi wondered if the brunette would even still be there. Had she taken off? Angry and hurt with Randi for what she'd started? Knowing Canton, Randi knew she likely blamed herself. With a heavy sigh, Randi finally padded out to the kitchen to meet her fate.

Canton was on her hands and knees finishing up the last bit of towel mopping she was doing. The kitchen was spotless, including the dishes they'd been washing when the water and food fight had started. Randi couldn't believe it.

"You did not have to clean everything up, Canton. I can't believe you did all that," Randi said, looking around in awe.

"Yes I did. I helped make the mess so there was no reason why I shouldn't clean it up," Canton said, getting to her feet. She rinsed off the towel she'd been using then slapped it onto the faucet so it could dry.

"Well, I disagree, but thank you very much."

"No problem." Canton smiled, but it was guarded.

"I left towels and clean clothes in the bathroom for you. If you'll get those off, I'll throw them into the washing machine."

"You don't have to-"

"Please? It's the least I can do, Canton. Considering, it was my whipped cream that made the mess." She gave Canton a playful smile, trying to break some of the tension.

"Well, in that case, I'll let ya."

Randi stood in the small laundry room down the hall from her apartment, preparing the washer for Canton's clothing, which was an absolute mess. She threw her own clothing in with it. For a moment she got a bit of a thrill, knowing their clothing would be washed together. Pushing that thought out of her head, she brought back what had happened half an hour before.

Her body still tingled from the memory of Canton's mouth on her, a shiver running down her spine and ending up squarely between her legs. She rested her hands on the washing machine, placing her weight on it as she closed her eyes, taking several deep breaths. What she really wanted to do was march right back into her apartment, grab Canton and finish what they'd started.

Even so, something inside her knew that was a really, really bad idea for so many reasons. One of which, she was still a married woman, no matter what the living arrangements were. She had plans to head down to the courthouse and file proper papers, but hadn't yet, fear stopping her: once she did that, it was final and there was no going back. Perhaps she was holding onto the word "married" like some sort of warped version of a binky.

Pushing off the washing machine, she headed back to her apartment, where Canton was already waiting for her, sitting on the couch in the borrowed t-shirt and shorts. Her hair was wrapped in a towel. She was flipping through one of Randi's text books, which was lying on the coffee table with her laptop.

"Clothes are being washed as we speak," Randi said, her voice light and friendly, determined to bring the evening back to an even keel.

Canton looked up at her and smiled, closing the text book and placing it back on the table. "I appreciate that. My Jeep would be smelling like Reddi Whip forever."

Randi chuckled. "Guess there are worse things it could smell like, but I imagine that sweet smell would get old quick."

Canton was having a hard time keeping her composure, sadness creeping over her. She was terrified that she had taking things too far and had ruined their burgeoning friendship. "Randi," she began, her voice soft as she looked down at her hands which lay in her lap.

"No," Randi said, walking over to where Canton sat. She reached down at grabbed one of her hands, tugging until Canton was on her feet and into a warm hug. Canton was unsure, which made her stiff. "Don't do that," Randi whispered into the hug. "Hold me."

Canton squeezed her eyes shut as allowed herself to fully embrace, no only Randi, but also the moment of forgiveness. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "It won't happen again."

Don't say that. Randi rested her head on Canton's shoulder, rubbing soothing patterns on her back. "There's no need to be sorry."

They stood that way for nearly twenty minutes, just absorbing the presence of the other woman, reveling in the familiarity and safety the other provided. Canton rested her cheek against the top of Randi's head, her fingers combing through the soft blonde strands. She could feel Randi's warmth and just wanted to lose herself in it.

Holding in a contented sigh, Randi murmured into the hug. "I have dessert, too if you want it."

Canton chuckled. "I kinda already did."

That set them both off in peels of laughter, the tension fully broken.


Randi held her pen poised over the pad, waiting. When nothing was forthcoming, she glanced up at Shannon, who sat across from her at the kitchen table in the house they'd shared for many years. "Shannon?" she said, drawing his attention from where it had been focused out the kitchen window. He looked at her. "What do you want out of the family room?"

Shannon sighed, tossing the pencil he'd been playing with onto the table, amidst the piles of papers and records that documented their life together. "I don't care," he sighed.

Randi hid her irritation as best she could, sitting back in her chair and setting the pen down. "Shannon, please don't start. We've got to get these lists compiled for the hearing next week."

Shannon studied her for a long moment. "Did you ever love me?" he asked, voice quiet, almost like a little boy's.

"Don't do this now," Randi moaned, her face in her hands.

"What? I'm sorry if I can't be cold about all this."

"I'm not being cold, Shannon. How can you not feel that it was time and that we were beating a dead horse?"

"Because I still love you and I think you're going through something. I don't know what, but something. Menopause or whatever. Something."

Randi's anger was reaching the boiling point now, and she had no desire to sit there and fight. She pushed back from the table, gathering all the records she'd brought with her and shoving them back into the file folder they'd come from. "Let me know when you're ready to sit down like adults and work these details out. Until then, I'm going home."

Shannon watched her go, plopping back against his chair with a heavy sigh.


Laughter rang through the first level of Canton's newly renovated house. In the elegance of the formal dining room, Canton hosted a dinner - prepared with the help of Randi - to Randi, Blake and his new girlfriend, Kerry. The food was amazing and company was even better. The small dinner party was to reveal the new house, which had been completely restored to the glory of the original 1846 structure, replete with antique furnishings from the time period. Walking into Canton's home was walking back in time.

"And so," Blake laughed, the women surrounding him already laughing as he continued his story, "I'm hanging there," he explained, raising her arm over his head like he's dangling from the beam he was describing, "I'm like, 'Hello! Anyone down there?'" The table burst into fresh laughter, Kerry sending adorning eyes to him, which was not missed by Randi or Canton.

"We offered to help!" Kerry exclaimed, sending new laughter to Blake's flushed cheeks, but everyone knew it was all in good humor.

Canton raised her glass to Kerry and Blake. "Well, you two-" she turned to Randi, "three, were absolutely integral to making my homes come to life." Glasses clinked all around, followed by "Here, here!"

"Well, this has been a blast ladies, but Kerry and I have a nine o'clock film to catch," Blake said, scooting back from the table, ready to make his leave.

"We are not leaving without helping clean up, Blake," Kerry insisted, also scooting back, but began to gather plates as she did.

"I so like her," Randi stage-whispered to Canton, Blake rolling his eyes.

"So do I. She's definitely good wife stock," Canton played along.

"I agree! I can easily imagine her - baby in tow - finishing up with dinner and making Blakey do the dishes," Randi said, staring off into a seen future.

"What a wonderful idea!" Canton quickly agreed. Both burst into laughter as Blake and Kerry were each turning seven shades of red. "Go to your movie, you two!" Canton exclaimed, waving the teens off. "We'll get this."

Randi pointed a finger at them both. "This time!"

"Okay, okay," Blake muttered, shepherding Kerry out of the house.

Canton and Randi stood side by side, watching them go. Canton placed an arm around Randi's waist, Randi resting her head against Canton's shoulder. "Well, dear," Canton joked, "I think our little boy is growing up."

"Sigh," Randi returned, both chuckling. "Come on, you. Let's clean up."

An hour later, they sat in front of a gorgeous fire in the rock fireplace in the sitting room. Randi was curled up in a wingback drinking a mug of coffee with a shot of Grand Marnier while Canton reclined on the chaise lounge, her mug in hand. Randi stared into the flames, a soft smile curling her lips. Canton studied the graceful calm of Randi's face.

"What are you thinking about?" Canton asked softly, sipping from her coffee.

Randi's eyes never left the fire, her smile broadening slightly. "Just how at peace I feel." She met Canton's gaze, the blue turned gray in the firelight. "I finally feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be for the first time in my life. I'm just very proud of myself."

"And you should be. You're finally living your life for you, and it's made that wonderful light inside you that much brighter. It's very beautiful, Randi." Canton couldn't take her eyes of the blonde, her words coming from her heart.

"Thank you, Canton,' Randi whispered. "I think you are, too."


"Hey girl!" Tammy, the Night Manager exclaimed in her usual exuberant manner. "What time do you need to be outta here?"

"By six-thirty," Randi answered, in the middle of creating the best caramel macchiato that she could. "I got plans." Her huge grin made Tammy fan herself. "Oh, stop!" she laughed. "I'm helping a friend get her new office ready for business Monday morning." Tammy still fanned herself, making Randi roll her eyes.


"Careful!" Canton exclaimed, guiding the delivery men as they moved in the last of the equipment into the offices. It had been a long day and she was exhausted.

"Where does this one go, ma'am?" the big, burly delivery man asked.

"Exam room 3."


"Thank you and come again to Wayne's Coffee World," Randi smiled, handing her latest customer their drink. She'd been appointed to making drinks today, and she loved being there at the drink station. She loved creating new menu items, and it brought her back to her roots in at more kitchen-like setting. Besides, it was a hell of a lot better than working the drive-thru window! A quick glance at the clock showed her that she only had ten minutes left on her shift. Randi couldn't hide her grin as she started on the next order.


Shannon sat in his car, his heart beating a million miles per minute. He sat in front of the coffee shop that he'd gotten a cup of coffee from every day on his way to work for the entire five years that it had been open. His fingers grazed across the smoothness of the weight that sat in his lap. It was almost a decadent smoothness: cool to the touch and exciting to the spirit.

After a moment of silent prayer, Shannon tucked away his new toy and opened his door, stepping out into the warm July day. He took a surreptitious look around as he made his way towards the shop, pushing inside with a jingle of warning bells above the door. He saw the surprised look on Randi's face and suddenly, it was all worth it.


Canton glanced at the clock she'd just hung in exam room 1, concern building when she saw that it was after eight p.m. Randi was due an hour and a half earlier, and it just didn't seem like her to be so late without calling. Canton had stopped herself from calling, not wanting to interrupt Randi at work in case something had come up and the blonde had to work late. Even still, something in her gut was niggling at her.

Suddenly, her cell phone chirped to life. Canton hurtled the exam bed to get to the main office where her phone sat on the receptionist's desk. Expecting it to be Randi, she was surprised - and even more concerned - to see it was Blake.

"Hello?" he said, bringing the small phone to her ear.

"Are you near a TV?" Blake asked, his voice quiet and filled with fear.

"No, I'm at the office. What's wrong, Blake? You sound like you're about to cry."

"You might want to get home, Canton. It's mom," he urged.


Randi was deeply shaken, left alone in the coffee shop with Shannon. She couldn't take her eyes off the 9mm that sat in his lap. He'd allowed the rest of the co-workers to leave, which she was grateful for, but now it was just the two of them, the walls of the shop swirling with the red and blue lights of the police cars that filled the parking lot. She garnered her courage, finally meeting his gaze.

"What do you want with me, Shannon?" she asked, her voice forcibly soft.

Shannon sat at one of the tables, away from the large plate-glass windows. He sipped the caramel breve Randi had made for him. "This is really good," he complimented.

Randi said nothing, just stared at her hands, which fidgeted with a cardboard sleeve that slipped onto cups to help keep customers from getting burned. Her heart was pounding and she wasn't sure what to do. Two hours before, Shannon had entered the shop like any other customer. Once he'd reached the register, he'd asked for Randi, who'd been called to wait on him. He would have been her last customer before leaving to go meet Canton at her new offices.

"What can I get you, Shannon?" she asked, waiting impatiently for his order. He'd given her the order for his caramel breve and then had brandished his gun, something she had no idea he owned.

Within an hour's time, he'd allowed the other employees and customers to leave, the cops already arrived on scene. In truth, he wasn't sure what he planned to do, other than the fact that he just couldn't face the fact that they'd be meeting in court within a few days, and at that point, all ties to her would be gone and things would be put into motion for the final outcome of divorce. It just wasn't something he could face.

Shannon knew there was a question on the table for him to answer and instead of voicing his response, he held the paper cup in his hands, swirling the liquid inside around and around. "Randi," he said, voice soft as he was lost in memory. "Do you remember that old café I used to work in at school?"

"Yes Shannon, I do."

Shannon smiled at the memory bouncing around in his mind. "Remember that 'special blend' coffee old Ray used to pawn off? I tried to get you to drink that forever but you wouldn't. It wasn't until you got pregnant with Blake that you started to crave the smell of coffee." He smiled, leaning back in his chair. "I remember you yelling down from the loft in that piece of crap apartment we lived in for awhile: Shannon, make me some coffee to snort!"

Even Randi had to smile at that, remembering all too well.

"I never did tell you, but Ray's 'secret blend' was nothing more than Folgers and Swiss Miss hot chocolate powder mix combined." Shannon grinned up at Randi. "Funny, huh?"

"Shannon," Randi said softly, moving around until she was sitting across from him. "Why are you doing all this? I'm not worth this." She eyed the gun then her gaze moved up to his troubled eyes. "Let it go. Let me go before you ruin your life."

Shannon studied her for a moment before his face distorted into rage as she shoved his chair back hard enough to knock it over. He grabbed Randi by the hair, forcing her head back. "Do not presume to tell me what to do," he growled, the barrel of the gun resting under her chin.


Canton's eyes were glued to the news broadcast of the hostage situation on local news. Blake sat next to her, Kerry on the other side of him, both trying to give him support, even as Canton's heart was screaming for her to do something. A helicopter perspective was played across the television coverage, showing the small army of police and fire vehicles that littered the parking lot of the coffee shop and surroundings streets. The people at those vehicles looked like ants on the ground.

"It's going to be okay," Kerry murmured, her hand buried in Blake's hair. Canton's own hand was placed protectively on his back, but her heart was in her throat, tears threatening to fall.

Suddenly a reporter was on the screen, an earpiece pressed to her ear. "We have more information regarding the hostage situation at the Wayne's Coffee World coffee shop today," the young reporter explained, looking down at notes she held in her hand. "The man has been identified as thirty-eight year old Shannon Garland Lehey, who has been holding his wife, Randi Lynn Lehey hostage at her place of work for the past two and a half hours. Authorities have tried to use negation tactics, but Lehey has yet to acknowledge them."


"You are a stupid woman," Shannon growled, holding Randi against him, the gun now pointing at her temple. "Call him."

"Who?" she whispered, heart pounding and fear trickling sweat down her spine and between her breasts.

"Who do you think!" Shannon raged. "Our son!" He shoved Randi's cell phone into her hand, the gun never wavering.


Canton's hand covered her mouth as she watched the footage, unable to look away. Blake and Kerry were in the same position, Kerry crying out startled when Blake's cell phone chirped to life. Blake hurried to grab it from where it sat on Canton's end table at the other side of the room. His face paled when he saw who it was from.

"It's my dad," he breathed. He brought the phone to his ear. "Hello?"


"Hello, son," Shannon said into the phone, his eyes never leaving Randi, who he'd pushed to an arm's length away. "Your mother wanted to say goodbye."


Blake felt his stomach catch. "Where is she going, Dad?" Blake asked, dread creeping down his spine.


Shannon glanced over at Randi, who was softly crying. "We're going on a journey, son." Shannon thrust the phone towards Randi. "Tell him goodbye," he growled, eyes hard and filled with hatred.


"Mom?" Blake was on his feet, nearly yelling now. "Mom?"

Canton was also on her feet, her gaze bouncing back and forth between Blake on the phone and the TV, the reporter's words becoming lost as her fear took over. She was trying desperately not to think the worst.


"I love you Blake," Randi whispered into the phone, her gaze locked on Shannon's gun as it was pointed directly at her face. A sob was torn from her throat. "Please no, Shannon," she begged. "Please don't do this."


Blake was opening crying now. "Mom? Dad, don't do it! Dad!"

At the exact time a loud bang could be heard over Blake's phone, the reporter on the screen cried out, "Shots have been fired! Shots have been fired!"

Canton felt her world go cold.


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